• i wrote an album review again... Caedere - Corruption

    5 Ago 2012, 22:09

    Yes this is my first review in a year.

    Caedere – Corruption

    Caedere is a Dutch death metal band from the far eastern part of the country. You know the area where the legends Asphyx and Pestilence came from. This band has been active since 1998. This is their 2nd EP and 4th release overall. They released 2 full lengths in the past. This EP is meant as a teaser for their new album of which the release date is not known.

    I personally heard of this band a few years ago when they were opening a local metal festival. I did not see them back then and my actual discovery of this band happened only fairly recently. Not too long ago they played at another local metal festival which I did attend. I was fairly impressed by their performance and decided to pick up their EP afterwards because it was just 3 euros.

    This is a short EP with just 3 songs running just over 10 minutes. The overall style of this EP I would describe as mostly Floridan in style but with noticeable traces of the Swedish sound. Lastly the groove that a lot of Dutch death metal bands is also there lurking in the back. They actually don’t sound very different from Severe Torture a brutal death metal band from the same country. They however are no copycats. It is more a case of sharing influences and I’d say that this band has less of the classic Dutch death metal groove and sounds more American.
    This EP for me has one obvious issue: the kickdrums. They are just too loud and dominate the mix too much. There are however no other issues with the mix. The bass guitar is audible and has a nice tone. The guitars sound decent albeit a bit too digital.

    The instrumental part of this EP is rather varied. There is no constant blasting, the guitars play varied riffs going from tremolo picking to more groove based slower paced riffing. The bass guitar is surprisingly technical and does not just follow the guitars. In fact sometimes the bass seemingly breaks free and becomes the lead instrument. However these instruments only get to shine when the drummer doesn’t push everything out of the way with his kickdrums. The vocals are a bit bland. The vocals are in the same vein as most modern brutal death metal bands. No pig squealing however. I am not very fond of this style of vocals. Fortunately there is also a backing vocalist who performs higher shrieks. This changes things up a little and makes it quite a bit better in the vocals department.

    The songs themselves are fairly decent. There are plenty of tempo changes but the pace never really becomes less than mid-paced. There is a decent amount of energy however the songs are not very memorable at the same time. Again it seems that the kickdrums are the primary cause of this problem. I am pretty sure I would enjoy the songwriting more if not for this. At the same time it’s the style of this band that is less about catchiness compared with old school death metal. However that’s a trade that this style makes for brutality, the kind of energy and atmosphere. It should thus not really be compared with OSDM. If you look at this release from such a vantage point I’d say that this is above average for its field.

    Overall I’d say that this is a decent EP suffering from one big problem. In the other areas I’d say that there is no real issue but at the same time never really grabs me either. For a couple bucks it’s worth checking it out. Live this band however is quite a bit better and their material shines quite a bit more. Definitely worth checking out if they appear near you and in the end this is a positive sign. If a band sounds better live, maybe they will get that energy decently on a release in the future. In the end i think 6.8 is more and less how i feel about this scoring wise.

    CaedereMorbid AngelCannibal CorpseDeathKreatorSodomDarkthroneBurzumNeurosis
  • A review for the saturday of neurotic deathfest.

    14 Mar 2012, 17:55

  • Best of 2011 (early edition)

    19 Dic 2011, 9:56

    I was making a best of 2011 list for a website and thought i might as well post it here.
    However considering it always takes a few years before a i really know the best releases of a year this will change.

    1) Autopsy – Macabre Eternal
    2) Manilla Road – Playground of the Damned
    3) Orphaned Land – The Road to Or-Shalem
    4) Volture – Rulebreaker (single)
    5) Septic Flesh – The Great Mass
    6) Moonsorrow – Varjoina kuljemme kuolleiden maassa
    7) Crowbar – Sever the Wicked Hand
    8) Rudra – Brahmavidya: Immortal I
    9) Vintersorg – Jordpuls
    10) Primordial – Redemption At The Puritans Hand

    honourable mention: Arch/Matheos – Sympathetic Resonance

    Manilla RoadOrphaned LandVoltureSeptic FleshMoonsorrowCrowbarRudraVintersorgPrimordialArch/Matheos
  • The beginning and the end of the retro-death metal movement?

    19 Jun 2011, 11:06

    Dead Congregation - Graves of the Archangels

    Ahhhh I remember how I felt when I first heard this album. My first reaction can be summed up in 1 word: UAAAAGGGHH. Maybe that is not a word. Whatever this album has so many awesome riffs. In fact more awesome riffs than pretty much every album ever. However this gem is more than just riffs. I’ll tell you what s this album has and why you should buy it. You could also not buy it if you hate yourself for some reason, really really hate yourself. Really, really, really hate yourself. Really, really, rea.... yes I guess you got the point now.

    So what do we have here. Well we basically got a new york death metal album that sounds like it came from when the scene in New York was at it's best. However this beast is not from early 90's New York but from Athens in Greece from the year 2008. I personally don't really associate Greece with death metal but like they say RIFFS transcend borders. Read a transcendental death metal joke here.

    The Album art is interesting. The band wanted it to look like the music they made. I have to disagree with them on this. The art looks like something from a bad dream and this album doesn't sound dreamy at all. I like the art despite it not looking as the album sounds.

    The production, the tones and mixing on this album are modern but only the good sides of modern. All the instruments can be heard clearly but without any sterility that plagues so many albums these days. Everything sounds like how it should. With meat, with power and with atmosphere. It's all perfect.

    When it comes to the actual songs. Well like I said earlier they sound like they were made in New York. A mixture between all the big classic bands NYDM bands from the early 90's while at the same time having their really own unique touch. Graves of the Archangels sounds not like a Incantation or Immolation clone. No it stands on its own in fact it stands on a pillar of comparable height as the best of both aforementioned bands. I'm calling it. This is the best NYDM album in years and it is in fact my favorite album of the currently ongoing retro-death metal movement. It's hard to point out specific highlights because everything is of such high average quality. However there are a few moments which give me chills. The intro of Graves of the Archangels with the chanting which just create an awesome atmosphere and the entirety of Teeth into Red and Martyrdoom. Vanishing Faith is also great and and... Fuck it. There are no highlights on this album. This album is like the sun. Even the dark spots will blind you.

    In short: A must have, a must buy, a must own. I don't think there are much more enjoyable things you can do with the couple of bucks this album costs. This album indeed might be the alpha and the omega of the retro-death movement but I won't feel sad if it is. This is a modern classic period. Now hopefully they will start touring more soon. If they do start touring, you can find me right in front of the stage headbanging my neck into a whiplash.

    Dead CongregationMorbid AngelImmolationIncantationBurzumDarkthroneManowarIron MaidenMetallicaArctic Monkeys
  • Asphyx - Bang for Buck

    1 Ene 2011, 0:18

    Asphyx has been releasing quite a few things over the last few year. First the comeback single, then the comeback full length, followed by this compilation, the Abomination Echoes boxed set featuring rare material and their first live album Live Death Doom. What unites all this new material is the fact that it is all kickass and thus Asphyx showed that they are still capable of being what a death metal band is all about even on releases which contain no new material as like on this release and Abomination Echoes.

    So what does this compilation offer?
    Well it features 2 full lengths namely the self titled and God Cries plus bonus material in the form of a couple live tracks and demo tracks. Basically this is a release in the 2 from the vault style Roadrunner did a while back but simply put quite a bit better.

    2 from the vault done right.
    The art on this release is really cool featuring art done by Gustave Doré. The booklet itself tells a bit about the story behind both releases featured on this release. All the song's have their own page for their lyrics. Both albums also have their own discs. Frequently when there are compilations of this kind you get a real low budget feel. This is absolutely not the case here. Depths of Eternity shows how it should be done and for a great price as well. I picked this up at their gig here in my town and it was only 10 bucks.

    The remaster
    This release has been slightly changed sound wise. The remaster made it slightly louder without overly compressing it.

    The self titled is in the same style as the earlier albums, maybe a bit closer to Embrace the Death. The biggest change on this release is the bass heaviness of it. The Bass at times is almost the lead instrument.
    The production here is really solid. Everything sounds powerful. The guitar is in the typical Asphyx style but not as loud as on the previous releases. This is compensated by the really loud bass guitar which sounds fairly awesome. The only slight problem here is that the mixing feels a bit off when it comes to the drums. I feel that some parts of the drum are a bit drowned out by the bass guitar.
    The songs themselves are all really solid. Not quite up to the same level as on the earlier albums.(Including Embrace the Death) I find that the tracks all have a similar quality level with no filler. The biggest short coming by comparison to the really legendary releases are the vocals. They are well done and definitely above average but they are not as awesome as what Martin van Drunen did or what Theo Loomans did on Embrace the Death.
    In the end its a typical Asphyx release just with loud bass guitar and merely great vocals.

    The bonus tracks on the first disc are a nice addition but they are completely dominated by the bass guitar and the vocals. I'm not sure who does these vocals. Based on the accent I think it is Ron van Pol. It is interesting hearing him performing the vocals here compared to the originals which feature Martin van Drunen. Basically these bonus tracks are a nice extra but nothing else.
    As for the bonus tracks on the 2nd disc. The demo tracks of both song's which appear on the full length as well i'd say the guitar sounds slightly more powerful. However the drum's don't sound as good and there is something else I can't really put my finger on.

    God Cries might be the least popular Asphyx album and personally I think not really deservedly so. It is an good album. Maybe not as exceptional as the classic 3 releases. It still has enough components to make it a good album. One thing is for sure though, this is the least Asphyx of all Asphyx albums. This album is a bit uplifting in places which is kinda ironic compared to the fact that he supposedly killed himself 2 years after recording this album. This album also has a some groove metal here and there. However Theo who wrote all the song's on this album did try to keep some of the classic Asphyx sound intact. So the end product is a sort of happy groove metallish Asphyx album. The production here is solid. The kick drum sounds a bit triggered but that is the only issue sound wise. The mixing's only problem is the low volume of the bass guitar. Considering a part of the Asphyx strength in the past was the bass guitar it's interesting that this doesn't really end up being much of a problem. I'm not sure what to think of the vocals. They have their merits but at the same time also are a bit of annoying at times. I guess this here is a real question of taste because he Theo does give here an good performance although not as good as on Embrace the Death. The vocals are also completely different. Being much closer to the style of Martin van Drunen. The tracks here are quite consistent with again no filler. In short this is basically Asphyx experimental album which isn't really experimental just different. An enjoyable listen.

    So is this compilation worth getting? If you don't own the original releases and like death metal i'd say yes after you've gotten the classic 3 Asphyx albums. There is no reason to get this if you own both originals. The bonus tracks are merely nice extras and the album does not sound drastically different. However I have to add that this is a really good package when it comes to all non sonic aspects. As for the score. Both albums would get an 7.5 on their own sound wise. The package in which its presented boosts the score to 8/10.

    AsphyxPestilenceDeathMorbid AngelObituaryBehemothBring Me the HorizonRadiohead
  • Asphyx – Awesome Neat Cool

    28 Dic 2010, 2:10

    First a note: This review is of the DVD+CD version.

    Asphyx are for me local superheroes. Arguably Asphyx are one of the very essential death metal bands that changed and defined death metal. Finally after being around in various states for the last 23 years they finally released their first live offering. Asphyx as a band is known for their great live performances and just sounding like a steamroller so the question is how well did it transfer to live DVD and the 2 CD's?

    In short the answer to this question is very well, extremely well even nay even they made a benchmark of how a death metal band should make an live CD + DVD release.

    This release is split in several parts.

    The DVD:
    First there is the center piece of the DVD. The “Live” subsection of the DVD, their gig in Essen Germany.
    Then there is the “Death” subsection on the DVD. This part is the interview of the band in which the most important band members through the history of Asphyx talk about their role in the history of Asphyx.
    Finally there is the “Doom” subsection on the DVD. This part has various of extra footage.

    Lastly there are the live CD's. The material found here is just the audio part of the Live subsection of the DVD.

    To start with the beginning. The box you get looks quite good. It has neat art in the traditional Asphyx style. The booklet gives you the standard information as well as the short story behind this release and a few pictures of Asphyx throughout the years. Nothing really exceptional but you don't really need more considering the entire history of the band will be dealt with later but now on to the DVD.

    The awesome aka Live.

    This is the part around which this release revolves. The actual performance in Germany from 2009. This performance still includes the former bass guitar player Wannes Gubbels who has been replaced by Alwin Zuur from Escutcheon in 2010.
    This part is all you could ever want from a Asphyx live CD/DVD. The sound is great, Raw and powerful. The camera is what you want, no constant changing of the camera angle and you can see everyone doing their part. The performance itself is great. Asphyx as usual put their usual energy in this gig thus giving you a real good indication of what they are like if you see them yourself, the best term for this is neckwreckingly awesome.
    The total length of the performance is just under 2 hours at 1 hour and 48 minutes. Various tracks from The Rack, Last One on Earth and Death the Brutal Way are played here with maybe a slight focus on the last one. The song's are all performed excellently and there is nothing else really to say about it.
    All this material can also be found on the live CD's. Which are handy for when you don't have a DVD player nearby and feel like some live Asphyx or if you want to listen to this on the computer.

    The neat aka Death

    This is the Hordes of Disgust interview with the band. It basically just consists of most of the important members of Asphyx saying what they did. This interview is fairly low budget and the most special thing you can see is where they briefly walk past the building where they used to rehearse which was in the process of getting demolished. I almost daily saw this building and this gave it something extra for me but sadly other than this you can just watch the the band members talk. It would have been neater if more stuff from the local area was showed or just anything other than their fairly boring faces. Still it gives a good view of the history of the band in a nice amount of detail.

    The Cool aka Doom

    This part is one of the coolest extra's of any DVD I’ve ever seen. You can see footage of Asphyx performing live at various places throughout their history. The most interesting is watching them from stuff from the “Embrace the Death” era when they were all young kids. The material here could be its own DVD almost. The various performances of the band here are mostly really good as well. The Death the Brutal Way video promo is nice to have as well.

    In the end this release is nearly perfect. With my only complaint about a fairly extensive extra. If you are an Asphyx fan or even a death metal fan in general I can only say that I really recommend you getting this as this is the best live release I’ve ever seen. In the end i'm giving this a 92/100.

    AsphyxMorbid AngelMetallicaSlayerBlack SabbathPestilenceBolt Thrower
  • Equilibrium is the worst band ive ever seen live.

    20 Sep 2010, 14:39

    Sun 19 Sep – Heidenfest 2010

    Horrible snoozefest, they have just 1 song and keep on playing it for an hour. Everything whats wrong with modern "viking/folk" metal aka keyboardy power metal with black metal influences.
    I bet all the kiddies who enjoyed this band left for Twilight of the Gods, which were in the end by far the best act of the day.
    Ill just go back to my Skyclad, Cruachan and Moonsorrow.

    EquilibriumTwilight of the GodsBathory
  • Timeghoul article + interview

    5 Mar 2010, 18:09

  • Dies Irae - Sculpture of Stone

    22 Nov 2009, 20:19

    Dies Irae – Sculpture of Stone

    Dies Irae from Poland. Not the most well known band from that scene. Half surprising considering its line up consisting of (now) former Vader, Decapitated and various members who are known for their other bands/projects. The reason seems to be because this band has been sort of treated as a side project by Mauser, the last remaining founding member, and absolutely not because of the musical quality as i will explain later on.

    The evolution of this band has been fairly standard with their debut album being the most straightforward albeit very competent typically yet unique Polish styled band to an band which evolved their own sound and just became better and different. Allot of comparisons are being made with Vader for this band. Saying that there are no resemblances would be a lie. The band has allot of similar sounding elements but i think that doesn't lie in the fact that they are copying stuff from Vader but because there were 2 now former Vader members(Mauser and Doc) in the band but the 2nd guitarist is mostly known for his work with Sceptic and definitely ads his own touch especially soloing wise.

    Of course an album is made by its instrumentation and not by the art and lyrical theme and usually are just extra's which rarely enhance the rest but i think its still important mentioning them in a review especially if you are interested in buying the album. If you do not care about these however you can skip the following 2 paragraphs.

    The art of the album is fairly standard non gore based death metal album art. The front has some CGI art of 3 sculptures in stone. The back has a picture of the entire band. In the booklet itself there are shots of every band member. There are also some skulls, gargoyles, a roman/Greek statue head and some Latin in the booklet. All art is pretty much gray. Really nothing exceptional thus art wise.

    The lyrics are fairly good despite some engrish. The lyrical themes vary from what seems to be in order for the songs: Lovecraftian, werewolves, death, birth and rebirth of the universe with a anti christian/religious touch, misanthropy, anti-life, death again, about the beginning of sin and finally about the passage of time. The lyrics are thus fairly varied. Novy the bassist/vocalist doesn't pronounce them very clearly and the lyrics are thus not very understandable but if you can still understand them well, they are easily good enough to not cause any annoyance.

    Guitarmanship wise this album is very solid but not exceptional. The riffs have allot of palm muting and are somewhat technical. Id say the riffing is a mix between Decapitated and thrashless Vader and are quite excellent. There is some lead work in here but usually there are solos instead of having any lead guitars. The solos are well done and add to the overall experience. The guitar tone is quite clean but not sterile and fits well with the other musical elements and is fairly powerful.

    The bass is in the background but is competently played and is cleaner in sound than the guitars. My preference would be that the bass would have been more in the foreground mixing wise and with a somewhat dirtier sound but as it works it works quite well none the less and certainly adds to making this album heavy.

    Doc again provides very well competent drumming. Blasts when it fits double basses when it fits and the fills are all well done and again also played when they fit. The drumming other than that is fairly standard and could have been more exciting and less standard but it does work very well with the other instruments.

    Vocal wise this band is maybe the most unique. Novy has a really unique sort of slowish drawn out growl and at times sounds absolutely brilliant for example on the track The Beginning of Sin. The tone of the growls are mostly in the mid-low end of the spectrum with some higher growls at some places. The vocals are maybe the best part of the album and are mixed and produced basically perfectly.

    A band with excellent individual instruments can still be a bad/boring overall product and luckily Dies Irae's Sculpture of Stone does not suffer from this at all. All songs here are of good quality with everything working well together to create good somewhat technical Polish death metal. There are a couple of standout tracks, namely Beyond all Dimensions, The Art of an Endless Creation, The Beginning of Sin and Sculpture of Stone. With The Beginning of Sin being my overall favorite track. The other songs although also well done don't strike me as much as those 4 tracks i just mentioned.

    In the end id say this album is very well made were the individual parts except the vocals are not very amazing but make each other better. The vocals are excellent regardless of the rest of the album. This album's biggest downside is that it isn't really anything new, if this album was released when the Polish death metal scene just came into being it would have been hailed as a classic now. For me it is a classic, this is the album that got me into full fledged death metal. I'm very glad i found this album instead of the Mexican melodic death band of the same name and with almost the same album name and as i look at it with the eyes from a new death metal fan i can look at this album for what it is individually and not as a release from a genre that when this album was released was already over 15 years old.

    In the end I'm giving it a score of 85%. It doesn't get the full 100% because it is nothing really innovating. However it is a release that every death metal fan should have in at least some form.

    Dies IraeVaderBehemothDecapitatedUnsunDevilynDeathMegadethMotorheadMorbid AngelDarkthroneRadioheadLady GagaIsis
  • forbidden and helstar

    5 Jun 2009, 19:39

    Thu 4 Jun – Hell Over Europe 2009

    both rocked.

    forbidden seems to ignore their later half of their discography. Which although compared to the first 2 isnt as good. Is still better than about 95% of all other groove/thrash albums.